On June 11, I lost my best friend in the whole world.
Trent Gardner passed suddenly and my heart shattered into a million pieces.
He was my soulmate, lover, best friend, confidante and twin. We met in the most miraculous way over a tweet I'd sent to my favorite band. When Trent found me, it was against all odds, one in 7 billion, pure magic. The fact we were separated by 2200 miles was a miracle, but finding him after a lifetime of hoping for a soulmate...surreal.
Trent was the mastermind musician, the charismatic angel, and the loving soul who would help his fellow man in need. He had a deep, profound sense of humanity and his empathetic heart stole mine instantly. Everyday with Trent was a blessing I will never take for granted.
California was his heritage, his native land. I had written about that beautiful Pacific from the time I was 16, in a novel about a bicoastal love affair between a female journalist in Chicago and a music producer in L.A. The distance between Toronto and Sacramento was the same in mileage. Essentially, I'd written our love story some 22 years before meeting. The prophecy was mind-blowing.
When we finally met, I got to check off a mark on my bucket list, We crossed the Golden Gate bridge one sunny October Saturday at 11:11 a.m. The twin flame hour, as I liked to call it. The sunlight glistened in my auburn hair and I closed my eyes, reveling in the miracle of our love.
Rigel, meaning brightest star, was his middle name. Incidentally, my character from the novel "Against All Odds (1993)" was named Starr Elizabeth Taylor. Trent would then go on to tell me that his mother loved the actress Elizabeth Taylor and that Mom's ancestors bore the name Taylor. Eerie coincidence? Or just confirmation that we were destined to meet?
Many parallels guided us. My university was called Trent, and his daughter and my cousins lived in Henderson, Nevada. Too close for comfort. Breathtaking. Phenomenal. We also shared the same family birthdays between us. Everything in the Universe was saying "green light: GO."
Over the course of five months, I flew to California eight times. The hours with Trent were bliss, the moments I got to share with him, forever emblazoned in my mind. My heart swelled with gratitude and sheer reverence for the man who'd suddenly swept me off my feet and made my whole world a wonderland of joy.
Both creatively blessed, he a gifted songwriter and producer; myself, a journalist and romance novelist with a history degree, we clicked so well. A meeting of minds, similar and sacred. A union of hearts, unmistakably bound for each other.
But his life was cut short suddenly. It ended too soon. And my heart is eternally broken. I can't believe I will never hear his voice again. I'm frozen in a state of shock that my phone will never ring and I won't hear that good morning greeting, midday banter or evening wind-down before we sleep. All I can do is encapsulate the memories, hold onto the brief moments, and forever entrench myself in the exquisite songs he left behind. Luckily, I recorded a lot of voice clips we shared with each other. Those are golden. Platinum. Stellar. I can hear him anytime I feel the urge to be close to him. He is here. beside me. Always, Guiding me. My "brightest star" in a vast sky of glittering gems. He stands out. The most luminous of all.
I love you, My Deep River. Infinitely. Forevermore.
You are loved and missed beyond measure. I cannot numb the pain cascading from my heart. It's just so unbearable. But in time, it will subside, the shock and horror of your departure will dim, and I will be left with a bittersweet mist that will envelope me in my times of grief.
The roses you sent me...still stand in the tall glass vase. A constant reminder of your die-hard romantic ways. The greeting cards and the telegram all declare a love so strong and timeless that nothing could rival. The video clips of you singing to me...I can watch them anytime I feel the wave of loneliness wash over me. The recording of our fabulous and fun karaoke night...when you blew them all away with the Chicago song "Beginnings"...that will carry me through the hard times.
Now, I will hold you in my heart forever. Your legacy lives on in me, and in the songs that echo through the vast expanse of eternity. So many loved you, and what a blessing to embrace!
Trent, you changed my life is so many powerful ways. I hope you knew that you brought meaning, passion and renewal to a heart once barren.
Rest now, dear soulmate, in angel wings. Your pain is gone. Your mission complete. Until we meet again, my love. Adieu.